Real Madrid right-winger Rodrygo Goes has been a vital part of Real Madrid’s Champions League season. He has started the last three games for Madrid. The young Brazilian forward was one of the best players on the pitch for Los Blancos, along with the other players. Rodrygo hasn’t received many starting opportunities this season. He started just seven times between the Champions League and La Liga of 2021-2022. But with an all-action display upfront, Rodrygo reminded fans why he is still the best option on the right wing, above Marco Asensio.
Rodrygo had some good matches in the 2020-2021 season before suffering an injury in late December. He was breathtaking on the left side, full of chance-creation on the right, and even an impact sub off the bench.
The former Santos’ standout is more comfortable on the left wing, where he is more of a goal threat and more incisive when it comes to taking on defenders. However, Rodrygo did not shy away from getting into the box and forcing the issue against defenders from the right side.
Carlo Ancelotti’s tactics require the full-backs to contribute a lot in attack, and thus they can often be exposed on the counter-attacks. The wingers need to drop back and defend so that the full-backs aren’t fully exposed. He’s very good defensively, and he constantly tracks back to help the team’s right-back out. Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard aren’t capable of doing that, for they aren’t energized enough to attack and drop back on the defense in a few seconds.
Rodrygo is just the right man for the job. Rodrygo came on as a sub in Real’s first two Champions League games and has started their last three games. He did not feature in gameweek four. The Brazilian has scored two goals so far and produced an assist. Rodrygo is also a better presser than Hazard.
While Rodrygo is not as electrifying as Vinicius on the ball, he is not that far off when he plays on the left-hand side in his preferred position. But because Vini is not as able to play on the right as Rodrygo, those chances come few and far between. The Brazilian has attempted 4.19 shots and lies in the 97th percentile for the same. He also gets into great positions in the penalty area and has 5.68 touches inside the opposition’s box. He has completed 41.67% of the attacking actions he has attempted.
In modern times where fast counter-attacking football is played, every player, especially the wingers and full-backs, must be quick and possess a set of skills and tricks which they can use to their benefit to beat the opponent. Rodrygo has attempted 7.18 dribbles per 90 minutes, and has completed 62.5% of the dribbles he has attempted.
The above visual show us Rodrygo’s shot map in the Champions League. Most of his shots have been from inside the penalty area as he plays closer to the goal when the ball is in wider areas on the left flank. He has attempted a total of 14 shots in the five matches he has played and has had 28.57% of his shots on target.
Rodrygo is also brilliant with the crosses he puts into the penalty area. The winger has brilliant pace, and with the help of his dribbling skills, he can get into threatening positions on the right flank to cross the ball. As seen in the above visual most of his crosses from the right flank have generated a very high xT value.
With one goal and six assists in La Liga last season and three contributions so far in the Champions League this season, Rodrygo has shown he can make a difference in the final third. Technically, he’s fantastic, and he is a very intelligent and polished 20-year-old winger who is seemingly good at everything. It has been an intelligent, encouraging display from Rodrygo, who has been at the heart of everything good about Real Madrid attacking-wise whenever he has started. And it is yet another example of the tactical brilliance of Ancelotti, making the small changes that take into context space and role to help a player find their best possible form. Madridistas should therefore be excited to see more of what Rodrygo can do in this setup in future matches.